It is easier than ever before for customers to share information, make recommendations, and air complaints about products or services they’ve purchased online. Unfortunately, the news isn’t always positive. E-commerce businesses must take special care to stay on top of the information circulating about them online and available to present and future clients.
Consumer review websites such as Epinions are an increasingly popular place for consumers to turn for advice and information before buying. While these sites are simple enough to monitor, reviews and complaints are also popping up on blogs, as comments to news articles, and elsewhere across the Web. The following strategies are must-haves in the battle to preserve and protect an e-commerce business’s reputation, even with a limited budget.
Subscribe to News Feeds
A subscription to both Google News and Yahoo News news feed services delivers notifications to e-commerce business owners each time one of their keywords appears in the news. To make the most of this service, choose to receive alerts based on targeted keywords such as business name and tagline. Also, list the industry as a whole, as well as the names of top competitors. This is the crucial first step in learning what was said, who said it, and whether the overall opinion of an e-commerce business is changing over time.
Monitor Blogs with Technorati
Technorati works in the same way as Google News feeds, but scans blogs rather than news sources. Popular blogs wield a great deal of influence. Using Technorati ensures real-time access to information that could be critical to online reputation management. If the blog allows comments, a well-written, professional rebuttal to a negative blog post or comment can do wonders for an e-commerce company’s image. It is just as important to give thanks and show appreciation for positive comments by bloggers.
If a blogger has published information online that is patently untrue, the affected e-commerce company should immediately contact the blog host with a cease and desist letter. Most reputable hosts will immediately pull the questionable content, giving the company time to communicate with the blogger without fear of having potential customers read it.
Reputation Management Guru Offers Inexpensive Monthly Monitoring Tool
In a New York Post article, reputation management consultant Andy Beal told reporter Brian Moore, “You can’t make a negative Web page disappear off the Web unless you own it yourself.” Beal, co-author of Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations (Sybex/Wiley), went on to say, “The best you can hope for is to push it down in the Google results.”
Beal created a tool to help e-commerce businesses of any size monitor their online reputation across various social media outlets. Trackur scans millions of web pages for a monthly fee far less than that charged by professional reputation management consultancies.
Pump Out Positive Content
Produce positive online references daily or weekly in the form of articles submitted to popular article banks, interviews, blog posts, or videos. Counteract negative content identified using one of the methods described above by posting a positive message in a blog, news release, or even a Twitter update. Resolve the problem issue in the eyes of a potential customer by making the negative issue seem like an odd occurrence amidst so many positive ones.
For example, a disgruntled customer posts a complaint about an e-commerce business’s customer service department on an industry-related blog. The company receives an instant alert and crafts several blog posts of their own, echoing recent customer testimonials and noting improvements in customer satisfaction over the last quarter. Consumers searching for information about the e-commerce business note much more positive than negative content in the results.
Consistency and Timeliness Key to E-Commerce Reputation Management
Consistently push positive company information and respond to or address negative reviews or feedback as soon as possible. Online reputation management is one of the pillars of success in e-commerce business; it can be inexpensive to maintain a great reputation, while a negative one is very costly, indeed.